After the November election, when some partisan and media hysterics were running around like chickens with their heads cut off because the Republicans had picked up seats in Congress – as the out-party always does in the sixth year of a presidential term – Calbuzz suggested taking a deep breath.
Obama’s popularity had not plummeted, as quite a few hyperventilating commentators were arguing, it had been, in fact, fairly constant. And lo and behold, a couple of months later we now find not only has Obama’s approval rating edged up to about 50% nationally, but here in California it’s now at 60% — the highest it’s been since July 2013.
That’s the latest from the Public Policy Institute of California, who reports that Obama’s “approval has increased 11 points since October 2014 (49%), and is also higher than last January (53%). . . In our survey, 50 percent of likely voters approve and 48 percent disapprove of the president.
“His approval rating is 80 percent among Democrats, 50 percent among independents, and 13 percent among Republicans. Majorities of men (62%) and women (58%), as well as Californians across age and education groups approve of the president. An overwhelming majority of Latinos (75%) approve of the president, compared to 42 percent of whites.”
Guts Rewarded Part of this, we suspect, is that people like it when Obama takes decisive executive action (like on immigration) and when he stops allowing himself to be whipsawed by false hopes that the Republicans in Congress ever will compromise with him. The GOP’s intention has been and will continue to be to block him from achieving anything legislatively, so he might as well lay out proposals on taxes, college tuition, trade and foreign policy and let the Republicans take the unpopular side on every issue.
As PPIC noted, “When asked about President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, a solid majority (69%) of Californians say they support it, while 30 percent say they oppose it. Californians in our survey are much more likely to support executive action on immigration than adults nationwide (52% support, 44% oppose), according to the results of a December ABC News/Washington Post poll.”
If your opponents believe compromise is capitulation, then there is no common ground. So stop with the kissy face look, plant your feet and make the other guys take stands that will bite them in the ass in 2016. And guess what? People respect you more and your approval rating goes up.
Gandalf’s Big Magic Equally impressive but less remarkable is Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval rating which is now 61%. Said PPIC: “The governor’s approval rating among all adults has increased since December (54%) and is higher than in January 2014 (58%), January 2013 (51%), January 2012 (46%), and January 2011 (41%) when he entered office.
“Today, the governor’s approval rating is 82 percent among Democrats, 56 percent among independents, and 30 percent among Republicans. Majorities across age, education, gender, and income groups approve of Brown. Approval of the governor is higher in the San Francisco Bay Area (69%) than in the Central Valley (61%), the Inland Empire (61%), Orange/San Diego (59%), and Los Angeles (57%). Latinos (64%) are somewhat more likely than whites (56%) to approve of Brown.”
Here’s the most noteworthy change is the attitude of Californians: About six in 10 say the state is moving in the right direction and believe the governor and Legislature “will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year.” That is extraordinary.
When he campaigned for Prop. 30 in 2012, Gov. Brown promised that the tax increases in the plan would be temporary. But PPIC found that “half of Californians (50%) and likely voters (52%) would be in favor of extending them.”
Of course, “There is a wide partisan divide: 66 percent of Democrats favor and 63 percent of Republicans oppose an extension. Independents are divided (49% favor, 45% oppose).” Interestingly, the more conservative residents of Orange and San Diego counties (58%) and the liberal San Francisco Bay Area (55%) are the most likely to be in favor.
That’s a big deal because much of the success of Brown and legislative Democrats in fixing the budget mess (of course, the recovery didn’t hurt either) came about because of the temporary tax increases of Prop. 30; when it expires in a few years, it will be fascinating to see if Californians baffle the Beltway crowd yet again by voting to tax themselves.
PPIC surveyed 1,705 California adult residents January 11–20, 2014, including 1,021 interviewed on landline telephones and 684 interviewed on cell phones. The margin of error is ±3.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for the total unweighted sample of 1,705 adults; ±3.9 percent for 1,377 registered voters and ±4.6 percent 1,011 likely voters.